The Canadian Dietary Guidelines; a summary of the findings & updated recommendations.

A deeper dive into the recently released Canadian dietary guidelines.


This release is a pivotal step in both human and environmental health.


These updated guidelines were not swayed by large industries and took only into consideration the best available scientific evidence on food and health.


The guide is comprised of 3 different guidelines.


Guideline 1:

•Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein foods should be consumed regularly. Among protein foods, consume plant-based more often.

•Protein include legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, fortified soy beverage, fish, shellfish, eggs, poultry, lean red meat incl. wild game, lower fat milk, lower fat yoghurts, lower fat kefir, and cheeses lower in fat and sodium,

•Foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat should replace foods that contain mostly saturated fat.

•Water should be the beverage of choice.


Guideline 1 emphasises more plant based foods. The regular intake of plant based foods e.g - vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and plant based proteins, can have positive effects on health. Consumption of more plant based foods typically results in higher intakes of…


•Dietary fibre, associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (including well-established risk factors such as LDL-cholesterol), colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

•Vegetables and fruits, associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

•Nuts, associated with decreased LDL cholesterol.

•Soy protein, associated with decreased LDL cholesterol.


Shifting intakes towards more plant based foods could also encourage lower intakes of:

•Processed meat; such as hot dogs, sausages, ham, corned beef, and beef jerky. Which have been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

•Foods that contain mostly saturated fat. Lowering the intake of foods that contain mostly saturated fat by replacing with foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat decreases total and LDL cholesterol.


•There is convincing evidence that lowering the intake of saturated fat by replacing it with unsaturated fat (poly- or mono-unsaturated fat) decreases total and LDL- cholesterol. - Elevated LDL cholesterol is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease.


•Association between increased intake of vegetables and fruit and decreased cardiovascular disease risk.

•Association between diets high in nuts and lowered cardiovascular risk factors.

•Association between diets high in soy protein and lowered cardiovascular risk factors.

•Associated between diets high in viscous soluble fibre such as oats and lowered cardiovascular risk factors.

•Association between increased intakes of total dietary fibre and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

•Association between increased intakes of processed meat and increased risk of cancer

•Association between increased intakes of processed meat (per 50grams/day) and increased risk of colorectal cancer.


Guideline 2:

Processed or prepared foods and beverages that contribute to excess sodium, free sugars, or saturated fat undermine healthy eating and should not be consumed regularly.


Recommended limits:

Sodium: less than 2300mg per day (ages 14 +)

Free sugars: Less than 10% of total energy intake

Saturated fat: Less than 10% of total energy intake


•Association between decreased intakes of sodium and decreased blood pressure

•Association between increased intakes of sugar sweetened beverages and increased risk of weight gain, overweight and obesity.

•Association between increased intakes of sugar-containing beverages and increased risk of dental decay in children.

•Associated between increased intakes of added sugars (from food and/or sugar sweetened beverages) and increased obesity risk and type 2 diabetes.

•Association between increased intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages and increased risk of obesity among children.

•Association between replacement of saturated fat with monounsaturated fat and lowered cardiovascular risk factors.

•Association between replacement of saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat and lowered cardiovascular risk factors.


Guideline 3:

Food skills are needed to navigate the complex food environment and support healthy eating.

-Cooking and food preparation using nutritious foods should be promoted as a practical way to support healthy eating.



For the full report which includes all references, head to https://food-guide.canada.ca/guidelines



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